Jets QB Mike White says there's no doubt he will play Sunday
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Mike White still has soreness in his ribs, but he has no doubt that he will play Sunday against the Lions.
Officially, White was limited in practice for the second straight day. He’s been getting treatment before and at the start of Jets’ practice and then taking part in the team portions.
Thus far, there have been no issues throwing the football. White loves the fact that he will have the ball in his hands in such an important game for the franchise.
“It’s awesome,” White said. “That’s why you play sports in general. If you’re a competitor you want it in your hands, you don’t want to leave it up to someone else. You don’t want to be rooting, ‘Well, we need this team to lose and this team to win.’ We want to go out and we want to control our own destiny.”
The Jets (7-6) head into the weekend tied with the Patriots and Chargers, but in ninth place in the AFC playoff race due to tiebreakers. New England is currently in the seventh spot. The top seven teams make the playoffs.
White would love to be the quarterback that helps end the Jets’ 11-year playoff drought. It’s going to take a lot more than sore ribs to keep White from playing these games. He didn’t hesitate when he was asked if there is any doubt in his mind that he will start against the surging Lions, who have won five of six.
“No. Not at all,” White said. “Like I said Monday I’m preparing as such. Until something changes, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
White has proven his toughness and mettle by coming back twice from bone crushing hits in last Sunday’s loss to the Bills. He was taken to a Buffalo area hospital after the game for a CT scan and was cleared to fly home with the team. He said he’s feeling good after a couple days of practice.
“Just general soreness from getting hit,” White said. “That’ll happen especially this late in the season. Gets colder out. Hits feel like they hurt a little more and sting a little more. Felt fine.”
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur said White didn’t show any signs that he was impacted by the ribs.
“Even if he did, he wouldn’t say it,” LaFleur said. “He’s a tough dude.”
White probably will wear a flak jacket or additional padding to protect his ribs. If anything happens to White on Sunday, Zach Wilson will replace him. Robert Saleh promoted Wilson to QB2 this week. Wilson was inactive the past three games.
Although Saleh hasn’t declared White the starter for the remainder of the season, it probably would take an injury to remove him. White already had his teammates respect and they’ve shown him nothing but admiration and appreciation for how he refused to stay down last week. The Jets coaches have too.
“When you see a guy with that sort of toughness and resolve and commitment to the team it’s a powerful thing,” defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said.
Ulbrich, who played for the 49ers, compared White’s toughness to former San Francisco quarterback Jeff Garcia and said the team rallied behind him.
White has galvanized the Jets’ offense after some sluggish performances when Wilson was running the team.
The Jets have averaged 420.3 total yards the last three games, but struggled getting it in the end zone in the last two. They have scored only two touchdowns and both were one-score games.
White puts it on his shoulders to make sure the Jets score touchdowns and find a way to win these games.
“When you’re leading an offense, first and foremost you’ve got to figure out how to get it done,” White said. “Whether it’s throwing the ball, getting our run plays in the right position and just finding a way, however necessary. If the pass isn’t there and I got to run for a first down, by any means necessary you got to figure it out. Definitely, it starts with me.”